E-biking made pedalling the primary mode of transport

8.11.2022 7.28
En kvinna på en elcykel.
Maija Pelttari from Matinkylä values the recent improvements made to the cycling routes in her local area.Photo: Maija Pelttari

In this article, two cyclists from Espoo talk about their experiences with electric biking. After purchasing an electrically-assisted bike, pedalling has become the primary mode of transport for these women from Espoo. Ease, speed and climate-friendliness motivate them to choose cycling as their mode of transport.

Cycling is a sustainable mode of transport and a meaningful way for many residents of Espoo to move from one place to another. Our series of stories is about cycling in Espoo. The third part of the series presents electric biking from the perspective of two residents of Espoo. Check out the previous parts in the series: Active cyclists in everyday life and The whole family cycles.

Longer journeys without sweating or huffing and puffing

For Maija Pelttari from Matinkylä, e-biking has been a natural way to move from one place to another for four years already. Switching to an electric bike clearly increased her pedalling. ”I bike almost everywhere. I commute my two-kilometre journey to work by bike as well as cycle errand trips during the work day, journeys to hobbies, shopping trips and when visiting friends. You can cycle almost everywhere,” Pelttari explains.

She ended up purchasing an electrically-assisted bike because it allowed her to transport her child quickly and easily in a bike cart.

E-biking affected the length of her cycling journeys. ”With an electric bike, I can cycle for longer without huffing and puffing. I don’t struggle when going uphill, and I do not need to sweat. It is also more convenient to choose the bike,” Pelttari explains the benefits of electric cycling. She also feels that cycling is useful exercise with positive effects on her wellbeing.

Pelttari also considers the environmental aspect of transport important, so she avoids driving by car and favours cycling instead. “I can often cycle faster than drive or use public transport,” she adds.

Pelttari mentions laziness or the lack of good bicycle parking spaces as potential obstacles to cycling. Pelttari, who works as the club coordinator for Tapiolan Voimistelijat, instructs exercise classes at schools and is glad that they have bicycle racks that allow for bikes to be locked by their frame.

Sometimes weather conditions may reduce the enthusiasm for cycling, but Pelttari says that she is trying to cycle in any weather. “I bike every day in winter, too,” she says.

This year, she participated in the playful cycling competition Kilometrikisa with her colleagues, which also motivated her to pedal more. Both instructors and members of the gymnastics club were involved.

Pelttari hopes that the bicycle routes in Espoo would be distinct and clearly marked. For example, she feels that crossings built on top of intersections make cycling considerably easier. ”I am happy with the cycling routes in my neighbourhood, which are continually being developed. New bike lanes have been built in Matinkylä, as well as in Tapiola next to Merituulentie,” she says.

An enthusiastic friend provided the spark to start e-biking

For Helka Otsolampi, cycling is the primary mode of transport. Photo: Heikki Otsolampi

E-biking is the primary mode of transport for Helka Otsolampi from Olari, as well. ”I always ask myself if I can cycle first. It is the easiest way for me to move, and often the fastest. I don't consider cycling a physical activity. Instead, I think of it as just transport. I cycle to work, hobbies and other leisure-time activities,” Otsolampi says.

Otsolampi decided to purchase an electric bike four years ago. ”An acquaintance of mine had an electric bicycle and they were very excited about it, so I started thinking about purchasing an e-bike myself. I had a few test rides first and saved money to buy an electric bicycle,” she says.

“The electric-assisted bicycle has been even more fun than I thought it would be, and it has increased my cycling kilometres considerably. When pedalling an electric bicycle, I can easily tackle headwinds and uphill routes,” Otsolampi summed up her experiences.

“I used to cycle to work about once a week. E-biking has made biking the rule rather than the exception.”

Otsolampi also feels that not breaking a sweat while e-biking is a clear benefit, as it is lighter than ordinary biking. This means that she can bike to meetings during the work day, as well. Otsolampi, who works as a partnerships manager, commutes the six-kilometre journey from her home to her workplace in Nihtisilta by bike.

She is particularly motivated by the comfort and ease of cycling. ”When you get to inhale fresh air, you feel good. I do not need to coax myself to get on the bike. I am also motivated by climate issues and a more sustainable way of moving,” she adds to the reasons she likes to cycle.

Otsolampi hopes that the conditions of winter cycling, in particular, and biking in exceptional situations, such as near worksites, would be improved. She also hopes that gritting sand would be removed quickly after winter and that there were allocated storage areas for bikes.

As an example of well-implemented bicycle parking, she mentions the solution at the Tapiola shopping centre Ainoa. Otsolampi praises the bicycle parking area on the upper level of Ainoa for its location and large number of parking spaces.

  • Sustainability
  • Climate
The whole Espoo